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WI (4) | Special files and drivers | Unix Manual Pages | :man


wi - "Lucent Hermes, Intersil PRISM and Spectrum24 IEEE 802.11 driver"


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To compile support for the wi driver into your kernel, place the following lines in your kernel configuration file:

.Cd "device wi"

.Cd "device wlan"

Alternatively, to load the wi driver at boot time, place the following line in loader.conf(5):


The wi driver provides support for wireless network adapters based around the Lucent Hermes, Intersil PRISM-II, Intersil PRISM-2.5, Intersil Prism-3, and Symbol Spectrum24 chipsets. All five chipsets provide a similar interface to the driver.

Supported features include 802.11 and 802.3 frames, power management, BSS, IBSS, WDS and old-style Lucent ad-hoc operation modes. Cards based on the Intersil PRISM chips also support a host-based access point mode which allows a card to act as a normal access point (with some assistance from the wi driver). The Lucent Hermes and Symbol Spectrum24 chipsets do not contain this functionality. The PRISM family of chips do not support the WDS functionality. All host/device interaction is via programmed I/O, even on those cards that support a DMA interface.

The wi driver encapsulates all IP and ARP traffic as 802.11 frames, however it can receive either 802.11 or 802.3 frames. Transmit speed is selectable between 1Mbps, 2Mbps, 5.5 Mbps and 11Mbps depending on your hardware. Most hardware supports 11Mbps where the signal quality allows, but falls back to slower speeds when it does not. Except for the Lucent WaveLAN Bronze cards, all cards supported by the wi driver support WEP for encryption. To enable encryption, use ifconfig(8) as shown below.

By default, the wi driver configures the card for BSS operation (aka infrastructure mode). This mode requires the use of an access point (base station).

The wi driver also supports a point-to-point mode where stations can communicate amongst themselves without the aid of an access point. Note that there are two possible point-to-point modes. One mode, referred to as ""ad-hoc demo mode"", or ""legacy Lucent ad-hoc mode"", predates the IEEE 802.11 specification and so may not interoperate with cards from different vendors. The standardized point-to-point mode is called IBSS (or confusingly just ad-hoc mode), but is not supported by cards with very old firmware revisions. If your cards supports IBSS mode, it is recommended that you use it in preference to the ""ad-hoc demo mode"" in new installations.

Cards supported by the driver based on the Intersil PRISM family of chips also have a host-based access point mode which allows the card to act as an access point (base station). Access points are different than operating in IBSS mode. They operate in BSS mode. They allow for easier roaming and bridge all Ethernet traffic such that machines connected via an access point appear to be on the local Ethernet segment.

For more information on configuring this device, see ifconfig(8).

Cards supported by the wi driver come in a variety of packages, though the most common are of the PCMCIA type. In many cases, the PCI version of a wireless card is simply a PCMCIA card bundled with a PCI adapter. The PCI adapters come in two flavors: true PCMCIA bridges and dumb PCMCIA bridges. A true PCMCIA bridge (such as those sold by Lucent) will attach as a real PCMCIA controller. The wireless card will then attach to the PCMCIA bus. Wireless cards in PCMCIA slots may be inserted and ejected on the fly.

A dumb bridge, on the other hand, does not show up as a true PCMCIA bus. The wireless card will simply appear to the host as a normal PCI device and will not require any PCMCIA support. Cards in this type of adapter should only be removed when the machine is powered down.

The following cards are among those supported by the wi driver:

"Card Chip Bus" 3Com AirConnect 3CRWE737A Spectrum24 PCMCIA 3Com AirConnect 3CRWE777A Prism-II PCI Accton airDirect WN3301 PCMCIA ACTIONTEC HWC01170 Prism-2.5 PCMCIA Adaptech ANW-8030 Prism-3 PCMCIA Addtron AWP-100 Prism-II PCMCIA Adtec Adlink/340C Prism-II PCMCIA Airvast WN 100 Prism-3 PCMCIA Airway 802.11 Adapter PCMCIA Agere Orinoco Hermes PCMCIA Allied Telesis WR211PCM Prism-II PCMCIA ArTem OnAirPrism? PCMCIA Asus WL100 Prism-2.5 PCMCIA Avaya Wireless Prism-II PCMCIA Bay eMobility 11B Prism-2.5? PCMCIA Blue Concentric Circle WL-379F Prism-II CF BreezeNet Wireless Prism-II PCMCIA Buffalo WLI-PCM-S11Prism-II PCMCIA Buffalo WLI-PCM-L11G Hermes PCMCIA Buffalo WLI-CF-S11GPrism-II CF Buffalo WLI2-CF-S11G Prism 2.5 CF Cabletron RoamAboutHermes PCMCIA Compaq Agency NC5004 Prism-II PCMCIA Compaq WL100 Prism-II PCMCIA Compaq WL110 Hermes PCMCIA Compaq WL200 Prism-II PCMCIA Contec FLEXLAN/FX-DS110-PCCPrism-II PCMCIA Corega PCC-11 Prism-II PCMCIA Corega PCCA-11 Prism-II PCMCIA Corega PCCB-11 Prism-II PCMCIA Corega CGWLPCIA11 Prism-II PCI Dell TrueMobile 1150 Hermes PCMCIA Dlink Air 660 Prism-II PCMCIA Dlink DWL520 Prism-2.5 PCI Dlink DWL650 Prism-2.5 PCMCIA ELECOM Air@Hawk/LD-WL11/PCC PCMCIA ELSA MC-11 PCMCIA ELSA XI300 Prism-II PCMCIA ELSA XI800 Prism-II CF EMTAC A2424i Prism-II PCMCIA Ericsson Wireless LAN CARD C11 Spectrum24 PCMCIA Farallon Skyline Prism-II PCMCIA Gemtek WL-311 Prism-2.5 PCMCIA Hawking Technology WE110P Prism-2.5 PCMCIA Home Wireless Networks Prism-II PCMCIA IBM High Rate Wireless Hermes PCMCIA ICOM SL-1100 Prism-II PCMCIA I-O DATA WN-B11/PCMPrism-II PCMCIA Intel PRO/Wireless 2011 Spectrum24 PCMCIA Intersil Prism II Prism-II PCMCIA Intersil Mini-PCI Prism-2.5 PCI Intersil ISL37100P Prism-3 PCMCIA Intersil ISL37110P Prism-3 PCMCIA Intersil ISL37300P Prism-3 PCMCIA Laneed Wireless PCMCIA Linksys Instant Wireless WPC11 Prism-II PCMCIA Linksys Instant Wireless WPC11 2.5 Prism-2.5 PCMCIA Linksys Instant Wireless WPC11 3.0 Prism-3 PCMCIA Linksys WCF11 Prism-3 PCMCIA Linksys WCF12 Prism-3 CF Lucent WaveLAN Hermes PCMCIA Melco Airconnect Prism-II PCMCIA Microsoft MN-520 WLAN Prism-II PCMCIA NANOSPEED ROOT-RZ2000 Prism-II PCMCIA NCR WaveLAN/IEEE 802.11 PCMCIA NDC/Sohoware NCP130Prism-II PCI NEC CMZ-RT-WP Prism-II PCMCIA NEC PK-WL001 Lucent PCMCIA NEC PC-WL/11C Prism-II PCMCIA Netgear MA311 Prism-2.5 PCI Netgear MA401 Prism-II/2.5 PCMCIA Netgear MA401RA Prism-II PCMCIA Netgear MA701 Prism-II CF NOKIA C020 WLAN Prism-II PCMCIA NOKIA C110 WLAN Prism-2.5 PCMCIA NTT-ME 11Mbps Wireless LAN Prism-II PCMCIA Planex GeoWave/GW-NS110 Prism-II PCMCIA Planex GW-NS11H Prism-II PCMCIA Proxim Harmony Prism-II PCMCIA Proxim RangeLAN-DS Prism-II PCMCIA Samsung MagicLAN SWL-2000N Prism-II PCMCIA SENAO SL-2511CD Prism-3 PCMCIA Siemens SpeedStream SS1021 Prism-II PCMCIA SMC 2602 EZ Connect (3.3V) Prism-II PCI or PCMCIA SMC 2632 EZ ConnectPrism-II PCMCIA Socket Low Power WLAN-CF Prism-II CF Sony PCWA-C100 Lucent PCMCIA Sony PEGA-WL110 Prism-2.5 PCMCIA Symbol Spectrum24 Spectrum24 PCMCIA Symbol LA-4100 Spectrum24 CF TDK LAK-CD011WL Prism-II PCMCIA Toshiba Wireless LAN Card Prism-II PCMCIA U.S. Robotics Wireless Card 2410 Prism-II PCMCIA YIS YWL-11BPrism-II PCMCIA

Several vendors sell PCI adapters built around the PLX Technology 9050 or 9052 chip. The following such adapters are supported or expected to work:

3Com AirConnect 3CRWE777A (3.3V)
Belkin F5D6000 (a rebadged WL11000P)
Eumitcom WL11000P
Global Sun Technology GL24110P (untested)
Global Sun Technology GL24110P02
LinkSys WDT11 (a rebadged GL24110P02)
Netgear MA301
US Robotics 2415 (rebadged WL11000P)
Wisecom Wireless LAN PCI Adapter

The following adapters have the same model numbers as those listed above, but might not work if the actual card is after the change away from the Prism family:

DLink DWL520


Join an existing BSS network (ie: connect to an access point):

"ifconfig wi0 inet netmask 0xffffff00"

Join a specific BSS network with network name "my_net":

"ifconfig wi0 inet netmask 0xffffff00 ssid my_net"

Join a specific BSS network with WEP encryption:
ifconfig wi0 inet netmask 0xffffff00 ssid my_net \
wepmode on wepkey 0x8736639624

Join a Lucent legacy demo ad-hoc network with network name "my_net":
ifconfig wi0 inet netmask 0xffffff00 ssid my_net \
media DS/11Mbps mediaopt adhoc,link0

Join/create an IBSS network with network name "my_net":
ifconfig wi0 inet netmask 0xffffff00 ssid my_net \
media DS/11Mbps mediaopt adhoc

Create a host-based access point (Prism only):
ifconfig wi0 inet netmask 0xffffff00 ssid my_ap \
media DS/11Mbps mediaopt hostap

Create a host-based access point with WEP enabled (Prism only):
ifconfig wi0 inet netmask 0xffffff00 ssid my_ap \
wepmode on wepkey 0x1234567890 media DS/11Mbps \
mediaopt hostap

Create a host-based wireless bridge to fxp0 (Prism only):
Add BRIDGE to the kernel config.
ifconfig wi0 inet up ssid my_ap media DS/11Mbps mediaopt hostap
sysctl net.link.ether.bridge.enable=1
sysctl net.link.ether.bridge.config="wi0 fxp0"
sysctl net.inet.ip.check_interface=0

This will give you the same functionality as an access point.


"wi%d: init failed" The WaveLAN card failed to become ready after an initialization command was issued.
"wi%d: failed to allocate %d bytes on NIC" The driver was unable to allocate memory for transmit frames in the NIC’s on-board RAM. This can also be an indication of an incorrectly configured interrupt.
"wi%d: device timeout" The WaveLAN card failed to generate an interrupt to acknowledge a transmit command.


an(4), arp(4), ath(4), card(4), netintro(4), pccard(4), pccbb(4), pcic(4), wlan(4), ifconfig(8), wicontrol(8)
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ifconfig(8) wicontrol(8)


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